Fatih Kadir Akın — Selling a Global Sticker Business

Reading Time: 23 minutes

Arvid Kahl 0:00
Hello and welcome to The Bootstrapped Founder. Today, I’m talking to my dear old friend, Fatih Kadir Akin or FKA for short. We discussed the unexpected journey of building a successful business out of a simple idea. Fatih shares his experience with building Stikker.net and how he grew his audience through community building. And we chat about the challenges of logistics when it comes to shipping internationally and how Fatih found solutions that worked well for him so that it led to an exit. But before we dive in, let me thank the sponsor for this show. Imagine this: you’re a founder who’s built a solid SaaS product, acquire customers and it’s generating consistent monthly revenue. The problem is that you’re not growing for whatever reason, lack of focus or lack of skill or just plain lack of interest and you feel stuck. So what should you do? Well, the story I would like to hear now is that you buckle down and somehow reignited the fire. You got past yourself in the cliches and started to work on the business rather than just in the business. You started building an audience and moved out of your comfort zone and sales and marketing. And in six months, you’ve tripled your revenue, that would be a great story. But the reality is not as simple. Situations may be different for every founder facing this particular kind of challenge. But too many times the story ends up being one of inaction and stagnation until that business becomes less valuable or worse, worthless. If you find yourself here or you think your story is likely headed down a similar road, I offer you a third option. Consider selling your business on acquire.com. Capitalizing on the value of your time is a smart move and acquire.com is free to list. They’ve helped hundreds of founders already so you would be in good company. Go to acquire.com and see for yourself if this is the right option for you. And now, here’s Fatih. It’s kind of weird, right? Like we worked together for a year or so. And back then in San Francisco. And then, like, we all like everybody working at coding the company, right? Had their own reasons why they left or why they went away. And then everybody kind of like flew back to where they came from. That was one of those weird little things that I found so notable, like, you went to Turkey. I went back to Germany, like everybody just went back home in many ways. And that thing back there. How was that for you? Like for me, I just went back home and after coding, I just had a nap that lasted a couple of months. I honestly I really needed to relax. Because it was so much. The work was so much it was so intense. I was burned out. And I just needed to be home. How did you deal with that? Were you similarly?

Fatih Kadir Akin 2:50
I remember these days, actually, I was working from Turkey remotely. And I joined another company in Turkey again. And I didn’t actually give a break. I continued working. So then I jumped from company to another. And you know, as a front end developer for a long time, actually, I was doing front end until last year that’s how I know how it’s gone my site. Meanwhile, I built a company called Stikker.net. You already know about it.

Arvid Kahl 3:55
I was excited about this. Like,

Fatih Kadir Akin 3:57
Yeah, I wanted to see if I can do a business. That’s my main, you know, motivation. I am a developer. And I wonder if I can run a business. That’s all the story actually. And you know, I was doing some community stuff in Turkey. I organized J Istanbul community, which is a JavaScript stumbled actually gathering all the JavaScript developers together and there we are doing some meetups, etc. So we were collecting stickers as every developer do, you know and I saw that actually we needed some stickers and we had two options in Turkey. Either you should buy stickers from Sticker Mule which located in United States or we should go to local print shops. So, ordering from Sticker Mule is a bit expensive and we should wait for the shipping. And it was not really easy for us. And if you ordered too frequently, it will be held in you know the customs because the customs thinks you are importing things. But you have to tell them. Then we go to we went to actually local print shops but they are really low quality. And they asked us to print 1000 or something you know. I don’t want 1000 stickers because I don’t need them in that much. So I thought there is a you know, space there for Turkey market. Everyone is asking stickers, every company’s startups asking for stickers. They’re ordering from Sticker Mule or doing. They were going to have print shops. So I thought I can do it. And I created a, you know, WordPress and WooCommerce site. It was the easiest, you know, stack for me to do. I didn’t want to write any code, by the way. Because I want to try the business. I didn’t want to try if I can write some ecommerce site or something. Yeah, that’s actually how it started. And

Arvid Kahl 7:13
How did it end? How did it end? Tell me about that. No, honestly the thing that I’m excited to hear about is like, you know where it got you. But I think, oh, it’s already so cool that you stopped yourself from building yet another piece of software. Because so many people when they think, oh, I’m going to build a business, like with software mean that they have to write everything. That’s what they think, right? I have to write login, software. I have to write my password reset and I have to build like a payment system and whatever, right? I’m glad you didn’t because otherwise, you probably would have wasted a year building this website for no reason and probably wouldn’t have worked either.

Fatih Kadir Akin 7:53
Yeah, exactly

Arvid Kahl 7:54
How did you continue?

Fatih Kadir Akin 7:56
People around me criticized me not to write it from scratch, you know. People were saying to me, you know, you’re a developer, you can do it yourself, why are you using WordPress, WooCommerce, etc? And I said, okay, well, there is a solution there. Why shouldn’t I? So it was, you know, a fun story because everyone wants to create same things again and again. And as you said, you know, I didn’t want to write the ecommerce system. You know, there are so many things I should handle, like checkouts, payment systems, discounts, is not an easy thing to do. I should create a company and by you know, hire some engineers or something. I couldn’t do it myself. I didn’t want something like that big. So I was thinking just to try myself if I can do business. Yeah, that’s the actually.

Arvid Kahl 9:08
How quickly did you get customers? How quickly did you find people to actually, you know, buy stickers through that?

Fatih Kadir Akin 9:16
Yeah, that’s another story. I already have followers on Twitter. I’m really active on community. People know me. The first day I opened my sites, I didn’t sleep until morning to make all the stickers, you know, because there are lots of, you know, orders coming from the site because people know me. I already have audience. I already know people. You know, lots of friends and my followers ordered so many stickers from there. And they gave me feedbacks, like you know, the paper is bad or paper is not good, but etc. And with the feedbacks, I upgraded myself, you know. It was a unknown place for me, you know, the local print shops or you know, I don’t know it’s English but the guys who sell paper, you know. They’re, you know, shops sells paper. And I go there and I asked, I bring some examples from Sticker Mule. And I asked them if they have these kind of, you know, papers. So they have their own jargons. You know, I didn’t understand anything. So, I checked, I bought lots of papers from them. And I tried one by one, which is the best one. Yeah and because, you know, they are speaking in, you know, paper types. They have some jargons in Turkish is not, you know. I can’t google it, you know, it’s the jargon in Turkish. So when I Google, there’s almost no result is really hard thing for me to handle this stuff, the production stuff, but somehow I figured it out. And I upgraded my, you know, papers and I bought some new machines and the printers and the cutters. So, yeah, that become active so quickly. I didn’t actually wait too much because, you know, I already have followers. I knew communities. And when I go some, you know, I was doing some speeches around about development, because meanwhile, I’m already a software developer. I didn’t quit my job. The sticker side is my side project. So actually, like an Uber driver. I was doing some stickers at night and development by the day. So

Arvid Kahl 10:14
I did not expect that you actually would print these stickers and send them out yourself. I thought you found a way, you know, to have somebody else do this. But you becoming a sticker expert, now that is news to me. So awesome.

Fatih Kadir Akin 13:06
Yeah, actually. I had a partner. Actually, my wife’s older brother is my partner because it’s gotten a little big and I couldn’t, you know, I didn’t have time to do that. And he asked me to help. And I said, okay, let’s do it together. And he started, he handled all the things like shipping, the printing. I teach him how to print and how to cut the stickers, so he helped me a lot. So yeah, I had so many customers like 17,000 customers.

Arvid Kahl 14:02

Fatih Kadir Akin 14:03
Yeah, and unique, by the way. Mostly from Turkey. Yeah, mostly from Turkey. But there were customers from Azerbaijan, Cyprus, UK, interestingly, UK.

Arvid Kahl 14:26

Fatih Kadir Akin 14:28
Yeah, it’s weird to me because some people know me. There was a developer living in UK. She is Turkish. But she you know, she works in the UK community, Google comment or something. I didn’t really remember but she knows sticker and she told their friends. There is a company in Turkey printing stickers for really cheap, you know, when you think about the currencies, you know, the pound is really high rate comparing to Turkish lira. So it’s really cheap for them. So they started to order from us. And it was a win-win thing.

Arvid Kahl 15:26
Yeah, an international business. That’s so cool. That’s great.

Fatih Kadir Akin 15:31

Arvid Kahl 15:33

Fatih Kadir Akin 15:34
Yeah, actually, this site was in Turkish. But people were using it with Google, you know, Google Translate and ordering from, you know, internationally. Yeah, that was crazy for me, you know

Arvid Kahl 15:51
I bet. How was the logistics of that? Like how was like sending packages or little letters? Was that expensive for you? Or did you expect to send yourself outside of Turkey at that point?

Fatih Kadir Akin 16:09
Yeah, actually, we were sending the you know, envelopes because we’re using stickers. If it’s, you know, huge order. We were using boxes, but mostly people are buying 10 or 20 stickers. They love, you know, the React, Apache etc, something like JavaScript. So they were buying 10 or 20 stickers. So we were using envelopes and sending envelopes actually categorized as documents, you know. So it was really cheap for us to send in, you know, in Turkey. But in outside of Turkey is a bit expensive, but you know, we were charging customers on shipping. So actually it wasn’t actually a big issue for us. We were charging them. So it’s okay. And actually, for example, UK was really expensive from Turkey. But according to them, it’s not really expensive. So they were okay about paying the shipping costs. So it wasn’t a big issue. Yeah, actually, I was collecting customers from you know. I was going to some meetups speaking, you know, about development and I was collecting customers, you know. You know, in every community slide, I introduce myself to the community, right? You know, I emphatically recommend I’m a developer and my Twitter handle is this and I do own a business called Stikker.net. If you go to Stikker.net and use that code, discount code, you will able to have a discount. So actually, I was doing some

Arvid Kahl 18:28

Fatih Kadir Akin 18:29
Marketing on yeah, thanks. Marketing on meetups and people love it. Actually, it was working. I didn’t do any Google ads or something. Never.

Arvid Kahl 18:46
Wow. It’s the perfect product for community too, right? Everybody, every developer loves stickers on their laptop on whatever periphery they have, like iPads and whatnot. And if you already are in the JavaScript community, not only do you have like JavaScript stickers, but you’re gonna have UJS and you have like React and you have whatever new framework they invented yesterday. You can put a sticker out and this is such a gigantic amount of projects, right? That you can have massive amount of potential stickers there, genius! Like when I go to meetups, I try to find stickers. Not that I really need them, right? I don’t need more stickers. Everything is full of stickers anyway, but I liked it. It’s just such a it’s almost a meme, right? In our community that we need those stickers. What a perfect match of your community contribution and the business that you’ve been building. That is really cool.

Fatih Kadir Akin 19:40
Yeah, exactly! Yeah, actually, people asked me a lot why I’m only, you know, targeting developers and designers because you know, lots of people need stickers. And last year, I upgraded my content to, you know, target more people, you know, not just developers or designers. I edit, you know, like, some other kinds of memes, internet memes or something. So actually, I tried to expand my target audience. But developers are, you know, developers and designers were actually my biggest customers. Yeah

Arvid Kahl 20:38
Yeah, that makes sense. It’s nice to have a niche because you know exactly what they want, right? I mean, memes, I guess you can quickly figure out what memes work but you know exactly. I mean, you go to the meetups, you see people’s stickers, you know what they already have, right? So you can make a pretty sound judgment, still good to expand into memes. I think it’s a great idea to try and see, right? How far you can go. When did Sticker Mule come knocking? When did they express interest in your product?

Fatih Kadir Akin 21:10
Yeah, that’s another story. Actually, we were running business in the beginning of this year and my brother in law, asking me to you know, asking me to buy some new toners and you know, papers, etc. So, we were, you know, running business, but for two years like, Turkish economy gone a bit, you know, bad. So, price has gone high and, you know, the dollar rate is go really high. The Turkish Lira lost its value. So, important things become a little bit harder for us. And the government decided to, you know, harder the customs because they want to support the local producers. So, it was really a nightmare for importers to do something, actually and you know, we don’t produce toners or printers. So you know, the toner prices go really, really really high you know. I tried to, you know, like I was buying a color of toner like 300 Turkish lira and it become 5000 Turkish lira. You can guess the

Arvid Kahl 22:59
Wow! That’s a lot!

Fatih Kadir Akin 23:01
Yeah and when I checked the prices, our toners finished and there was some orders waiting for you know the printer to be filled. So, we can you know, ship them. My brother in law asked me to can you please order some toner because we need toners. We ran out of toner. So, okay, I will do it, I said. And I go to the toner sites I always buy. So, I checked, you know, five color toner is like, sorry four color toner is like CMYK you know, like 20,000 Turkish lira is amazing, you know, is too high. You know, there are high level printers, there were actually high level printers in that price. So I called back my brother in law, I said I won’t order. Let’s close the business and he said what? How? Why? And I said, okay, let’s go high. We are doing some business. We can increase our prices, you know, to make it more you know, profitable. So, this is another option, but I don’t want to, you know. I actually was selling stickers. When I first started the business, I was selling stickers just one lira per sticker, you know. It’s really, really low price. So it’s gone really high and I didn’t want people to pay really high rates for a sticker that, you know, is not a need for the people is just a pleasure or something. You know, I didn’t want to. Actually, we were earning from sidewalks. I didn’t want to, you know. I’m doing this business as my, you know, side project. It doesn’t actually, you know, I didn’t live with it. So I said, okay, we already spent too much time on it. I can’t do better things to earn money instead of running a sticker company and earn much more money. So let’s close the business. This is not actually profitable anymore, I said. And he said, okay, fine, let’s do it. Let’s close it. And I tweeted, actually, I stopped. Actually, I didn’t close the site, but I just disabled the payments, payment page. So people can view the stickers, but they won’t be able to order them. And I send a Tweet to the people saying, okay, guys, in Turkish, by the way. Okay, guys, I’m closing the Stikker.net because it’s become, you know, a little bit hard to run. So, because of the economy and I didn’t actually want to increase the prices, so I decided to close it. And lots of people mentioned me, replied to me, I shouldn’t do it, let’s support you or something, you know. People are encouraging me to run the business again. And somehow, I didn’t know how it happens. Somebody from Sticker Mule sent me a message from LinkedIn and said, okay, we saw you decided to close your business. Are you open to acquiring, you know, selling the site to us? And I said, actually, I didn’t believe it at first because, you know. I taught someone trolling me, you know. The site, I said, it’s not profitable anymore. And not much. And I decided to close actually, the business is not going fine, you know and so I thought someone’s trolling me. And I checked his profile. I checked his, you know, how many connections. I was trying to convince me if he’s a real person or not. And I said, wow, are you serious? Yes, sure. I will sell you. And he connected me to the CFO of the Sticker Mule. We had two calls with her. So we had a deal. And that’s how it’s gone.

Arvid Kahl 28:51

Fatih Kadir Akin 28:52
I didn’t expect just for me, it’s just like, winning a lottery.

Arvid Kahl 28:57

Fatih Kadir Akin 29:00
Same chance for me

Arvid Kahl 29:02
That is so nice. What an incredible story, particularly because it sounds like a movie, right? You’re at the darkest hour and everything fails and nothing works. And there is the sun is coming out and money comes your way. I’m happy for you. This was so nice. What a cool ending. I sometimes wonder like you said something earlier, which really stuck with me. Like you already had a Twitter audience and you already had your community that you were part of and that you were organizing. Would you ever even have started this business if you didn’t have this audience and your community work? Do you think you would ever have the same level of success?

Fatih Kadir Akin 29:44
I don’t think so. No, it’s yeah, people around me say oh my, God! How did you do that? You know, it’s impossible, they probably will say and they add because of the people you’re you know, because of the Twitter followers of you, it’s happened. They say they believe actually I believe so. You know, audience is really, really, really important thing for you know, you know, for the business like, you know, like Stikker.net. I don’t know, actually for every business actually, I believe.

Arvid Kahl 30:26
I think so, too.

Fatih Kadir Akin 30:27
I think it’s important. And yeah, actually I didn’t expect that become, you know, escalate so quickly.

Arvid Kahl 30:39
I’m happy. That makes me happy to hear though. That is such a cool story.

Fatih Kadir Akin 30:43
Yeah, I was thinking there are many printers. I had 12 printers, by the way.

Arvid Kahl 30:51

Fatih Kadir Akin 30:51
I had 12 printers and cutters. I was, you know, making some, you know, maths. If I sell these printers and the cutters, I had this much of no money. And I was trying to you know, I was calculating all the things, but you know, when the sticker comes, is like sun shining, as you said.

Arvid Kahl 31:22
Yeah, that’s so cool.

Fatih Kadir Akin 31:24
And that’s how it ended. I’m really happy with this ending, you know.

Arvid Kahl 31:33
Yeah, that’s a good ending.

Fatih Kadir Akin 31:35
Actually, I think to me first, you know, ending your business is a kind of, you know, bad thing, right? But I’m happy right now.

Arvid Kahl 31:47
That’s good. I can see it. That’s really nice. What a glorious ending. I think it’s just really, I’m very happy for you. And I think you made a couple of really good choices along the way. That kind of allowed you to even though it didn’t work out, that’s not your fault, right? The fact that the Turkish economy has these issues, that’s not your fault, really. But you dealt with it, you had to deal with it and that somebody else had the vision for your existing business to still flourish to still go on even after you sell it to them. That’s great for Sticker Mule. And what I find so hilarious in this is that you said in the beginning, Sticker Mule is too expensive. I’m gonna build my own Sticker Mule and then you build your own Sticker Mule. And then Sticker Mule buys the Turkish Sticker Mule. That is just such a funny thing, right? It’s this idea that you built a local, local version of their business that doesn’t work really well in your country, but you make it work. And then they get to benefit from that too. What a perfect story. I’m just really happy. And you said you’re not a front end developer anymore. Can you tell me like how that transition to I think you’re now working in what developer relations? Is that what it is? Or what are you doing?

Fatih Kadir Akin 33:06
Yes, I’m actually a developer relations manager at Teknasyon, which is a global company based in Turkey. Yeah, actually, because of my, you know, communication skills. I upgraded in so many years with the community stuff. So they asked me to last year, beginning of this year, actually, they asked me to join them as a developer relations manager. Actually, I didn’t know what a developer relations manager does.

Arvid Kahl 33:44
I don’t know either. What do you do?

Fatih Kadir Akin 33:48
Yeah, actually developer relations manager is simply keeping the actually if you can think of two parts internal and external. Internal developer relations is trying to make developers life easier inside the company like improving the developer experience, giving space to you know develop their selves, you know and kind of things actually. I had a blog post on it, but I didn’t release it yet. Yeah, actually some kind of stuff inside and externally, I’m doing some actually, a company wants to grow, right? And the growth becomes into ways in terms of tech, you should require, sorry, recruit people hire people or you should. And actually not all, and you should make increase retention. People shouldn’t leave your company. Yeah. So developer relations tries to do both of them working with CTO and HR. And because we should increase the retention, make developers happy. And meanwhile, I should hire new people, hire new talents and so to do that, I go to conferences, meetups and etc, find people and try to hire them. Yeah, actually, I’m trying to develop strategies to achieve these two things. I didn’t know if I’m clear or not, but

Arvid Kahl 36:12
Oh, yeah makes perfect sense. Like internally, you make sure that things work well. And that people who work in the company, get to grow. And externally, you attract new talent and you retain it. And you do that by going to events and making sure that the company you’re working for is visible to the outside. I think it’s funny because that is what you’ve always done, right? By going to events and talking. But you were talking about technology, not necessarily a company, but like JavaScript, right? You were working for JavaScript this whole time. I remember back in 2012, when I met you, for the very first time. My mind was blown that you had written a book about JavaScript, like that was already like I was so happy to meet somebody who had ever written the book because I had not met a technical author before. And about a technology that back then at least, was rather I guess, new ish, like novel. There was something about JavaScript where it was just coming back up, right? Like CoffeeScript was around. We didn’t have TypeScript yet. We didn’t have we had like, Node JS 0.6 or something. It was a really, really new kind of JavaScript on the back end and stuff that was all very new. And you’ve always been there. The decades that we have, like, not worked together now. You’ve always been part of this community. You’ve always been bringing more people into JavaScript in Turkey. And I think worldwide, just looking at your Twitter following, you have a lot of followers too. That was also impressive to me back then. You know, like when when we met, I had no followers on Twitter at all. But you had lots and even back in 2018-2019 when we sold our business, I always look up to you and your Twitter, because I had no followers at that point, either. But you had like 25,000. I was always impressed by how many people you were able to attract to you. I’m not surprised that you’re now doing this professionally, is really cool. Do you still get to code? Do you still want to code, maybe two questions at the same time?

Fatih Kadir Akin 38:28
Yeah, actually, I love coding. I still actually, we are trying to you know, I’m trying to encourage people inside the company about doing some open source stuff. So sometimes I try to you know, lead them. So I’m doing some code. Actually, last night, I had a short session in YouTube. So we were, you know, trying to build something with Deno, the new JavaScript runtime. So yeah, I’m still doing code. Actually not that much at all times. But yeah, I still code. I love coding. So yeah and by the way, yeah. Now, you know, I’m envying you, by the way, you become really popular. And people say me. And when I say, okay, someone sends me, you know, your book or something. And I say, oh, yeah, I know Arvid for a while, like 10 years or something. They say, what? Your know Arvid Kahl? You know each other? You know, you become much you become much more worldwide, you know.

Arvid Kahl 40:03
Yeah, it’s a bizarre coincidence, I think. But it’s like, it’s just me, Danielle and I building building Feedback Panda that was just like with you. I feel like it was the right opportunity at the right moment with both of us co founders, I guess. We’re at the right point to say we’re gonna build this now. And if it works, great. And if it doesn’t, well, then it was interesting, you know and it was a nice experience. And then we built that and it was successful and we sold it. And that just kind of escalated my public appearance because back in 2019, after we sold the business, I think I had 400 followers on Twitter, like that was comparatively nothing, right? And those were people who’ve been following me for 10 years on Twitter and I never used the platform. So I didn’t have a following at all. But I’ve been working on increasing this, obviously, because I am teaching, right? Just like you, I’ve now written books, which I always felt inspired by your work as well. So it’s just so nice to talk to you, man. It’s been so long.

Fatih Kadir Akin 41:07
By the way, I read half of your Zero to Sold book.

Arvid Kahl 41:13
Oh, nice.

Fatih Kadir Akin 41:14
I’m so sorry. I didn’t finish it.

Arvid Kahl 41:17
Don’t worry, it’s a big book.

Fatih Kadir Akin 41:22
Yeah, you wrote a lot.

Arvid Kahl 41:24
Yeah, that’s right.

Fatih Kadir Akin 41:28
Actually, you are one of the best writers I have read, you know, you’re writing really nice. I think it’s not a coincidence you have too many followers. You know, you are a well known person in worldwide. So

Arvid Kahl 41:51
Thanks so much!

Fatih Kadir Akin 41:51

Arvid Kahl 41:52
Thanks, Fatih. That’s really sweet.

Fatih Kadir Akin 41:54
I’m really glad. I feel, you know, honorable to know you.

Arvid Kahl 42:02
Me, too!

Fatih Kadir Akin 42:02
Oh, I know Arvid Kahl

Arvid Kahl 42:06
I’m equally fortunate to have met you. I think, honestly, back back, then I would have called myself like an amateur developer because I had worked in software. I built some stuff, mostly, you know, PHP and all these things you did back then, around the 2010 times the 2010 mark, but it was in working with you. And obviously also with the other fine people at coding, that I really learned what professional software engineering can be, right? It took me being in a group of really good engineers that really love building software. And being part of that, that I always tell people when they asked me, was it worth going to university for computer science? I dropped out, right? So I don’t know what should I say to begin with. But in the two weeks, the first two weeks that I spent working for coding and getting to know like everybody there, including you, at some, I guess later point, but in the first couple of weeks and months, I learned more than I ever learned in five, six years at the university. Because it was just such a group of people and this shared goal that we had to build like an online IDE for coding, that’s just exploded potential, right? I feel to this day, I’m super thankful for the opportunity. And even though the business didn’t work out and we all went our separate ways at some point, I don’t think I would be where I am now if it wasn’t for the people that I met along the way that taught me everything and taught me so many things that I would have never thought about. So now that you work in developer relations, what is the next business that you’re gonna be building? I have a feeling you’re gonna be building something new in the future, right? Or is Stikker.net the last thing you gotta built? What do you think?

Fatih Kadir Akin 44:12
Yeah, actually, I have an idea. I actually I have an idea for four years. I have an idea for four years and nobody still didn’t do that. But it’s not an ecommerce. You know, I gave up with the E commerce. Ecommerce is not really scalable, you know. You know, the shipping thing is really hard. Building things in physically is really really hard. It has so many blockers. It has so many things that you should handle with but I have an idea, a business idea. Doing some SaaS project for the companies is for the actually, startups. I didn’t want to go deeper on it. But I have an idea, right? But I don’t know when I will start, you know, because Stikker.net was occupying too much time of mine, too much time. So I gave a break. And when I feel myself really, I’ll try to do some new business. And I will try to see if I’m doing SaaS business. Yeah, if I try it in, you know, the E-Commerce. Yeah

Arvid Kahl 45:53
Yeah, I think SaaS has many benefits. I think obviously, like, it’s much more scalable if you build it as a low touch kind of business, where you don’t have to do sales or you don’t have to print anything is just, you know, a machine doing the work. But it does come with a lot of pressure, pressure in a sense of you need to focus on it a lot. I remember this, like, fortunately, Feedback Panda was low touch and it was highly automated. And we could run it as a side project for a long time. Both Daniela and I, we both had full time jobs while we built the software on the side. But at some point, there was this kind of choice that we needed to make, like, are we going to do it full time now or is it just going to be this small side project, right? And it was making good money at that point already. But we had to make a conscious choice to not get money from our main jobs anymore. So we could really dive into the business. And one thing that I noticed running the business pretty much myself as a technical founder, Danielle was the non technical person and she did all the design and all the, you know, the business, the outreach to sales to marketing and I did all the tech stuff at that point. There was a lot of mental pressure to just keep things running. Because if you don’t have like a DevOps team, if you don’t have like more engineers that are on call at night so you can sleep, you’re always on call and you’re always responsible for keeping the software running. And if you write a book and you’ve written the book, you don’t care. You don’t care what Amazon does on their book printing store or you know or your publisher does. You give the book to them, they deal with the book and they sell it for you and you get the royalties. But with a SaaS, man, you better be like ready to spend a lot of time on it, which obviously, in your situation where you have a full time job and your community work. It’s probably gonna be hard to just side project this. I can see that.

Fatih Kadir Akin 47:52
Yeah, I think so. You know, I tried to start and I’ll see how it goes. I don’t know, I actually don’t have any. You know, I can see what will happen, but I can’t feel the pressure, you know, because I worked for the SaaS companies. I didn’t own one. But I worked for the SaaS companies. And it’s like having a baby you know. As you said you have always have to think of it in your mind. And it will occupy your time maybe you know, you know, as you said you have to be on call all the time. It doesn’t feel you know, really easy but I used to you know, used to have some experience from Stikker. Stikker.net is like actually, you know, SaaS business but it has pressure too. It’s kind of you know, people were mailing, people were calling by the phone. They were ordering and in an hour later, they were calling if it is shipped or not, you know, it’s like management customers is not really easy thing, you know. Yeah, so I can feel it, but I’ll try to do some business and after the Sticker Mule acquisition, you know, it makes much more confidence, you know, to me. I don’t know actually if Sticker Mule didn’t acquired it, maybe I would never think of it but after Sticker Mule acquires, it feels like oh, I can do something.

Arvid Kahl 49:59
Yeah, that’s right!

Fatih Kadir Akin 50:00
Let’s try again.

Arvid Kahl 50:01
Yes, that’s the right mindset right there. Honestly, what I would like to see is that you started right now or tomorrow. Get started, man. I mean, what do you have to lose, right? You can always run your little SaaS project as a side project. I mean, you know, obviously, you still have to do your job.

Fatih Kadir Akin 50:23
Yeah, I mean, maybe I’ve started, no one knows.

Arvid Kahl 50:27
You know, I will support you. Yeah, you know that, right? And you have a community of what now 53,000 followers that will also support your efforts. They did support you with stickers. So they will also support you with the next thing. Man, it’s so nice talking to you. And just seeing you smile when you talk about business. Because I think for both of us back in 2012, when we were just regular software engineers, neither of us was thinking about building a business, right? I certainly didn’t and I don’t think you were. And now here we are. Isn’t that cool?

Fatih Kadir Akin 51:03
Yeah. Yeah, it’s you know, the world is small, man.

Arvid Kahl 51:06
It really is. I’m so glad that you talk to me today. That is such a wonderful thing. Where do you want people to find you after they listen to this? Where do you want people to go and check out your stuff?

Fatih Kadir Akin 51:23
Yeah, you can find me on Twitter. Actually, I’m always tweeting in Turkish. Sorry about it. But most of the time, I’m making fun. But Google Translate works fine, you know. You can translate and read my tweets. I’m fakdev, like developers and fak, my capitals. So yeah, they can reach me out there from Twitter and they can find me on LinkedIn as well. LinkedIn is much more, you know, the much more you know, English based, so yeah

Arvid Kahl 52:15
That’s a cool!

Fatih Kadir Akin 52:20
I have lots of open source projects on GitHub. Use them.

Arvid Kahl 52:26
You also have the, I think the shortest twitter handle that anyone could have, right? You’re just F on GitHub.

Fatih Kadir Akin 52:34
Yeah, GitHub. Yeah, I have github/f

Arvid Kahl 52:39
That is so bizarre. Man, you were there at the first hour of GitHub existing to grab that handle. That is so cool. Man, thank you so much for chatting with me. That was awesome. And I hope you start your next thing immediately. Get going, man. I know you’ll have the support of the whole community behind you. Thanks so much, Fatih.

Fatih Kadir Akin 52:57
Yeah, I’m opening my IDE right now for you to find me again.

Arvid Kahl 53:02
All right. Way to go. Thanks so much!

Fatih Kadir Akin 53:07
Thank you, man.

Arvid Kahl 53:08
And that’s it for today. Thank you for listening to The Bootstrapped Founder. You can find me on Twitter @arvidkahl. You’ll find my books and my Twitter course there as well. If you wanna support me and the show, please subscribe to my YouTube channel, get this podcast in your podcast player of choice and leave a rating and a review by going to (http://ratethispodcast.com/founder). Any of this, will truly help the show. So thank you very much for listening and have a wonderful day. Bye bye

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